There’s gold in them thar hills…NOT

In my Wren Falls post I mentioned a gold mine that we hiked to. Yes and no.


This is what you see when you get there. An old boiler, wheels gone and rusting to bits.

Fool me once

It’s quite a big heavy thing to end up in this location, but what the heck is it for? Currently it’s being used as a den for porcupines or some other critter (check out the door in the back).

Fool me twice

Try as I might, I couldn’t find any primary sources of information, only rumor and a few snippets of an anecdote that may or may not be true. The story is that in the late 1800s some unknown swindler set up a fake gold mine scheme in order to con people out of their money. He (and probably some co-conspirators) hauled this boiler to a site near Wren Falls in Northern Wisconsin as pure stage dressing. They dug a pit or two and told people they found gold. What they probably showed those poor saps was gold from somewhere else and only seeded onto the property. A popular way to show the ‘promise’ of a claim site.

People bought ‘shares’ in this phony company and the conman took off with the money leaving the shareholders with nothing except a hole in the ground and this hulk of metal. You can see what they thought of that.

The overgrown ‘gold mine’ pit and the boiler

While there is plenty of iron and copper in this part of the state, it isn’t known for gold. In reality the whole scheme was, well, you get it.




2 thoughts on “There’s gold in them thar hills…NOT

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  1. My Grand-dad bought shares in a Wisconsin Gold Mine, one of my brothers has the deed. He was raised on a Reservation near Chippawa Falls then moved to Minneapolis. This may be the mine.

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